We all know how challenging it can be to win new business. Gaining a new customer’s commitment is justifiable cause for celebration. But you need to remember one thing: the sale isn’t over when you book the order.
Your prospect started their search for a solution because they needed to achieve a goal, solve a problem or address an issue. They selected you because they believed that you represented their best chance of achieving this. Don't let them down!
Reputations on the line
Your sponsor - and other members of the decision-making team - may have put their reputation on the line when choosing to go with you. And their buying process won’t be over until the solution delivers the benefits they expected. So your sale isn’t over until they have achieved what they set out to.
If you need any more reminding of this, just think of the power of a positive reference - and the corrosive effects of a bad reputation. In today’s business climate, you need every customer to be an advocate. The quality of your existing customer's experiences dramatically affects your chances of finding new ones.
Start with their end in mind
Stephen Covey, in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, advised us to start with the end in mind. I’d advise you to start every sales cycle by ensuring that you understand your prospect’s goals for their project, and how they will judge its success.
This will not only give you a head start in your sales process - by ensuring that your proposal is closely aligned with their key initiatives and success measures - it will also provide the foundation for ensuring that their objectives are met.
Laying the foundation for successful implementations
Having a common agreement about desired outcomes and how they are going to be achieved establishes a solid foundation for successful implementation - and becomes a shared responsibility between the customer and the vendor.
This foundation is best built from the start of the sale, rather than after the order is received. Your focus on the prospect’s goals will serve to differentiate you from competitors who only focus on features, functions and benefits.
By focusing and following through on your prospect’s goals, problems and issues, and by testing to ensure that they have been addressed, you’ll create a growing community of advocates who find it natural to describe what you do in terms of the benefits they have achieved.
Your win stories and case studies will resonate with their intended audience. Your marketing campaigns will be more interesting, and more attractive to your potential prospects. And you’ll build a reputation as problem solvers, rather than technology promoters.
Get found by prospects with similar problems
Perhaps best of all, your emphasis on understanding the goals, problems or issues that cause your potential prospects to start searching for solutions will help to ensure that you get found when they are trying to identify their options.
And, if you’ve properly understood the buying decision process of your existing customers, and asked them to help you navigate the BuyerSphere that surrounds them, you’ll get found more often, earlier in the cycle, by more of the right sort of prospects - and win more of their business.